Cleveland Browns vs Cincinnati Bengals NFL predictions, picks, odds & spreads: Expect a shootout in Cincinnati

The Cincinnati Bengals are on a 4-game winning streak but on Sunday they face the last team to beat them — the Cleveland Browns. For the Browns, it’s week 2 of the second half of their season under Deshaun Watson, but the star quarterback was very rusty in his return to action after a 700-day absence so it will be interesting to see how much progress he has made in a week since the win over Houston. Our expert has picks for the spread and total for the big AFC North game, with Joe Burrow looking to pick up his first win over the Browns at the 5th attempt.

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NFL Week 14 Cleveland Browns vs Cincinnati Bengals prediction

The Bengals suffered something of a Super Bowl hangover with a 2-3 start this season, albeit not as long-lasting as the one the winning Los Angeles Rams team has had. The AFC champions have won 6 of their 7 games since then, despite losing star wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase to injury for a while, and at 8-4 they are leading their division and looking to make some noise in the playoffs again. The interesting angle for this game though, is that their most recent loss came to the Browns, 32-13 on Monday Night Football on Halloween, and it was a really one-sided contest.

The Browns began the season hoping to just be competitive while Watson served his 11-game suspension, but it didn’t go to plan as they stood on the brink of irrelevance at 4-7 when Jacoby Brissett handed over the keys to the offense to Watson. The irony was that Brissett was not at all to blame for the disappointing record – more often it was defensive meltdowns and special teams foul-ups that cost the Browns games they could have won (notably against the Jets, Falcons and Chargers). It was also ironic, therefore, that when Watson returned last week, it was the defense and special teams that carried the Browns to a win, coming up with 3 touchdowns against the Texans while the offense scored none for the first time in Watson’s career. The Browns have had the Bengals’ number in recent seasons, even while finding creative ways to lose against most other teams, so anything could happen in this Sunday showdown.

Cleveland Browns vs Cincinnati Bengals spread, odds & betting lines

Point spread: Browns +5.5, Bengals -5.5
Total points over/under: 46.5-47 points
Money line odds: Browns +200, Bengals -220

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Cleveland Browns vs Cincinnati Bengals expert picks

We’ve got 2 smart NFL picks for this week’s game between the Browns and Bengals.

Browns vs Bengals point spread pick: Bengals -5.5 (-107)

One of the most interesting matchups of the week sees the Cincinnati Bengals hosting the Cleveland Browns in an AFC North rivalry clash. When these teams first met this season on Monday Night Football, the Browns picked up a surprisingly dominant win. Cincinnati was embarrassed that night, and you have to figure they will have revenge on their minds. Joe Burrow hasn’t had much success against Cleveland in his career, and he’ll be highly motivated to flip that narrative on its head. Meanwhile, this will be the second game under center for Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, who returned from suspension last week against the Texans. It has been a long time since he last took a meaningful snap, but Watson didn’t look sharp at all against the Texans. The only reason they won that game is because Houston is more of a college team than an NFL one at this point.

Watson threw for just 131 yards and looked skittish in the pocket, and I’m skeptical that all of the rust will be shaken off after just one week. It’s going to take him a while to get acclimated, and this is a tough matchup on the road against a well-coached Bengals defense. Much tougher than facing Houston’s JV squad. The Bengals are playing some of the best football in the NFL right now, and look like legit Super Bowl contenders. When these teams first played this season, Cincinnati didn’t have Ja’Marr Chase, and having him back in the lineup is a huge boost. Cincy has won 8 of its past 10 games, and the Bengals haven’t lost at home since Week 1. I’m laying the points with the home team.

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Browns vs Bengals over/under totals pick: Over 46.5 (-114)

The over makes a lot of sense in this spot, since I think the Bengals will be scoring freely. In the first matchup between these teams this season, Chase wasn’t playing, and it’s hard to overstate his significance. Since he’s been back in the lineup, the Bengals have been cruising on offense, and they are averaging over 31 points per game over their last 4 contests.

Cleveland’s defense has played a bit better in the past couple of weeks, but it was facing the anemic Texans and Buccaneers offenses. In the 2 weeks prior, when they had to face tough units against Buffalo and Miami, they gave up an average of 35 points. Watson isn’t back to his old self yet, but he will be a big upgrade over Jacoby Brissett and gives this Cleveland offense a much higher ceiling. This one could be a shootout.

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Cleveland Browns vs Cincinnati Bengals expert predictions

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